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Donald Trump .jpg
Photograph: EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

The charitable foundation of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made numerous questionable payments including settlements of at least two court cases against the New York billionaire's businesses, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Citing court documents and the Donald J Trump Foundation's tax records, the newspaper reported that the charity made a 100,000-dollar donation to a group for military veterans in 2007. The donation was made to settle a claim from the town government in Palm Beach, Florida, which had sought to fine Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf club 120,000 dollars for installing a flagpole that exceeded local limits.

Another golf course in Trump's real-estate empire settled a lawsuit by agreeing to contribute to the plaintiff's designated charity. The 158,000-dollar donation was made from the Trump Foundation.

Citing experts in US charity law, the Post reported that the payments made to cover financial obligations of Trump of his businesses could violate federal law, which bans charitable expenditures that benefit foundation leaders.

In the Real Clear Politics average of the latest presidential polls, Trump trails Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by about 41 per cent to 40 per cent. US elections are November 8.

Trump has refused to release his personal tax records, as all other major-party presidential nominees have done for decades. Tax-exempt charities' tax records are public.

In the Palm Beach case, the golf club flew a huge US flag from a 24-metre-high pole, while municipal regulations limited flagpoles to 12.6 metres. The town assessed fines of 1,250 dollars a day for the violation while the club sued in federal court, saying that a less massive flag "would fail to appropriately express the magnitude of Donald J Trump's ... patriotism," the Post reported, citing court documents.

Other examples of questionable spending by Trump's foundation include purchases of paintings of himself at charitable events for up to 20,000 dollars.

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